AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Republican Party has announced that it will host a firearms training course designed to help people acquire their concealed handgun permits on July 13.

According to a press release from the GOP, the intent of the event is “to celebrate Republican success in protecting the privacy of Maine concealed carry permit holders.” The event includes breakfast, lunch, an official concealed carry permit class and an evening reception. The cost, including the reception, is $185.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to get your concealed carry permit at the same time you support the party that supports your Second Amendment rights,” reads the press release, signed by GOP chairman Richard Cebra.

Gun rights and gun control were among the major topics of debate this year in the Legislature, due in part to lawmakers’ concern over a mass shooting last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. There were numerous bills proposed this year related to concealed carry permits, but many of them were pushed off until the Legislature reconvenes next year. One bill that was successful was LD 345, which shields personal information from concealed weapons permits from Maine’s Freedom of Access Act. That bill was enacted in April on bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate before it was signed into law on an emergency basis by Gov. Paul LePage.

Another bill, LD 660, would have abolished concealed handgun permits in Maine altogether. That bill failed in the House last month by a razor-thin 74-73 vote, which was followed by a 21-14 defeat in the Senate.

The GOP event will be held beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine at 205 Church Hill Road in Augusta. For more information about tickets, visit

This Saturday, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, will be in Portland to rally support for legislation to expand federal background check mandates for gun purchases. The event is organized by Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is offering a chance to share a lobster dinner with Giffords and Kelly in Portland.

Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.